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2 – THE BUSINESS Friday, August 13, 2010
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Friday, August 13, 2010 THE BUSINESS – 3
Firms could be rusting away, claims broker S
OUTH Yorkshire’s manufacturing industry could be rusting away because firms cannot afford to replace old equipment. According to asset finance broker Jason Lincoln, a quarter of small manufacturers have been unable to buy equipment because of cash flow problems. Mr Lincoln, director of Crane Moor-based Lincoln Finance, said many small and medium firms were struggling to get credit. Hospitality, transport and agricultural sectors had been particularly badly hit. He said: “It is vital that as we come out of recession businesses have the equipment they need when demand picks up. “But problems with falling profits and difficulty getting loans or overdrafts mean many have just made do with what
they have. “That means in some firms equipment is literally rusting away.” Research by the Open University Business School says 16 per cent of small and medium firms have not been able to replace equipment during the recession. Six per cent said it posed a risk to their businesses. Other research by Oxford Economics showed investment in equipment has fallen by more than in either of the two previous recessions. Mr Lincoln said: “This research is very worrying. “Britain’s 4.7 million small businesses should be the engine room of recovery from the recession. “They need to be in good shape.” On a brighter note, he said there were signs of an upturn in
investment by firms using asset finance. This is where plant, cars, vans and other equipment are procured by leasing or hire purchase. This allows businesses to avoid paying for equipment immediately. Mr Lincoln said asset finance had increased by about 11 per cent nationwide. He said the number of deals he had brokered up to May had risen by 26 per cent. “In many instances, we have secured funding for clients when their banks or previous finance houses were unwilling to help. “Our proposal acceptance rate has been more than 95 per cent during the last 12 months. “So there may be light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses.” Lincoln Finance has arranged financial deals worth more than £16m since 2005.
Fighting back against the taxmen A CARLTON company has designed computer software to help UK business owners fight back against the taxman. DEB Chartered Accountants say the software called Tax Defender helps bosses find legitimate ways of reducing tax liabilities. Designer David Edwards-Brown said: “Many of the tax-saving ideas are
available on the Revenue and Customs website. It is simply a question of knowing that they are there and how to find them. “Tax Defender allows people to look through hundreds of tax-saving ideas to locate the ones that are applicable to their circumstances so they can take advantage of them.” The company, which won an
award in 2008 from an organisation called 2020 Innovation, was asked to give a speech to a conference for small and medium sized firms of accountants in London in July. There are also plans to launch a series of computer programmes to allow accountants to provide better services for their clients.
Furniture experts popular in south A COUPLE who make bespoke furniture are doing a roaring trade in the south. Paul and Julie Harpin, who run Simply Rustic Oak at Staincross, say 95 per cent of their orders have come from southern England. One of the more recent contracts involved them making a seven-ft oak beam table for a
doctor in Reading, Berkshire. The couple delivered it by hand. Paul and Julie have also had two orders from Northern Ireland and even had an enquiry from someone living in Newfoundland, Canada. Julie said: “I think we are doing so well in the south because there is more money down there. The enquiry from
Newfoundland was for a coffee table. It would have cost £295 for shipping alone. “I sent the person the details but we have not heard anything since.” Paul and Julie established the business at their home more than two years ago. Julie added that bigger premises were needed.
The right moves: Laura Amy White of the Dance Box.
Dancer Laura moves into new business venture ONE of the highlights of Laura Amy White’s professional career was when she danced with the Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity. She performed in a ‘flashmob’, or public performance, in a shopping centre in London just before Christmas. Laura Amy said: “The performance was shown on TV. “Diversity are a good group of guys. “It was nice to do street dancing and hip hop.” The ballet and contemporary dancer hopes her latest venture will top that experience. Laura Amy, 23, has opened a dance studio called The Dance Box at McLintock Way, off Summer Lane, Barnsley. Adults and children can drop in to take part in
classes. Sofire Ross, a professional Burlesque and belly dancer, is conducting sessions. Professional dancers from all over the country have been invited to take classes and workshops. She grew up in Shafton and moved to Carlton when she was 12. She attended St Michael’s Roman Catholic School and Barnsley College. Laura Amy spent about three years doing a degree at the Northern School of Contemporary
Dance in Leeds where 500 people audition for 50 places. She has worked parttime and full-time for The Spectacle Shop in The Arcade and is a dancer with the Wayne Stables Project with whom she will tour the UK later this year. In 2011, she hopes to perform in the United States. Laura Amy added: “I want people who have never danced to feel comfortable and have a go.”
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4 – THE BUSINESS Friday, August 13, 2010
Warning to firms over bogus calls BARNSLEY firms have been warned about a bogus caller offering to help them cut their rates payments. Council finance managers say the caller falsely claims to be working for the local authority. Businesses are urged by the caller to enter a contract in which substantial fees could be demanded if any reduction in the rateable value of the business property is obtained. Dave Whittingham, head of the council’s taxation and revenues service, urged companies to think carefully about entering into such agreements. He said firms should take advice from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors or the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation. Mr Whittingham said: “The exercise, in which business properties have recently undergone revaluation, appears to have encouraged an increase in activity in so-called rating agents trying to make a profit from
‘In some cases, up-front fees paid by ratepayers have not been reimbursed when a reduction has not been granted’ Scooting away: Rick Galloway, left, and Peter Rimmington with two Evolution Scooters. local businesses. “Experience suggests these agents target businesses after revaluation and people can be misled when entering into arrangements with them. “In some cases, up-front fees paid by ratepayers have not been reimbursed when a reduction has not been granted. “In other cases, agents have demanded substantial payments for rateable value reductions even though phasing arrangements, limiting the amount of bills brought about by property revaluation, meant the reductions did not immediately result in lower rates of payments.”
Scooter maker’s success ONE of only two British makers of motor scooters has a full order book until the end of the summer. Evolution Scooters at Chambers Road, Hoyland, sells to enthusiasts all over the country. It hand-builds one scooter a week. Each is made in a limited batch of 50 with a customised paint finish. Engines, imported from
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China, range from 50cc to 160cc. The fastest Evolution model can reach 98mph. The company employs six. Its sales office is at Hoyland and the scooters are built at Stairfoot. Joint managing director Peter Rimmington, who runs the firm with Rick Galloway, said: “We are exceptionally proud of what we have achieved so far.” Mr Rimmington, who lives in
Elsecar, went to Hoyland Kirk Balk School and spent about ten years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He was a sergeant and served all over the world. From 1988, he worked for a national signmaking company for about 20 years. He has been interested in motorbikes since he was a teenager and got into scooters about two years ago.
Arrow Staffing hits target in the delivery business A BIRDWELL company is delivering up to 400 parcels a day for the courier company DHL. Arrow Staffing and Training at Rockingham Business Park uses six full-time drivers. It won the contract after supplying temporary staff. Arrow also does work for the Home Delivery Network and uses two drivers. John Darbyshire, who set up the business with Paul Guy and Phil Rouse in December 2007, said: “Things are looking good. “We are doing fantastically well.
“DHL asked us to supply temps and invited us to tender for a delivery contract.” The firm does a lot of work with call centres at Manvers including Ventura. Other clients include Koyo Bearings at Dodworth. Mr Darbyshire has worked in recruitment since 1990 and ran an organic food business called Organix Solutions for about five years. Mr Guy and Mr Rouse have been in the recruitment industry for about ten years.
Sessions open to improve your overall approach BARNSLEY firms are being given lessons in the art of making money from the first sale. They are being taught the importance of having things like prices, book-keeping and credit control at sessions organised by Business Link Yorkshire. Dawn Whiteley, a spokesman for the Dodworth-based business
support organisation, said: “New businesses are sometimes to passionate about their ideas that they may overlook the essential financial planning that will support their success.” The sessions run for about three hours and information is available on 08456 048048.
Has your firm got a success story to share? If so, call our Business editor Ian Thompson on 01226 734210.
Friday, August 13, 2010 THE BUSINESS – 5
A D V E R T I S E R ’ S
A N N O U N C E M E N T
Taking new business to the next step TAKING the leap from working at home into a professional business environment may be a daunting thought to many small businesses, but Enterprising Barnsley is on hand to help. The fundamental aim of the initiative is to make its office space, known as Enterprise Hubs, accessible and affordable to eligible Barnsley businesses ready to take the next step. The popular Enterprise Hubs offer shared office accommodation with modern facilities, essential to those with new/early staged businesses. For just £35 per week, per workstation, the office space includes a PC and full colour printer, fast broadband, modern office furniture, 24/7 secure access and easy in/easy out terms. Furthermore, Enterprise Hub tenants are given opportunities to take advantage of free enterprise coaching, offering assistance with anything from web development to sales and marketing, as well as access to free networking events, where valuable business contacts can be gained. Enterprising Barnsley currently has office accommodation available at nine hubs located throughout the borough, each with something different to offer, whether it be excellent transport links and professional meeting rooms or digital and photographic facilities. Two businesses to recently take the leap into Enterprise Hub accommodation include, AC Environmental Solutions Ltd, now located at Longfields Court, Wharncliffe Business Park, Carlton, and Brook Corporate Development Ltd, located at Bull House Mill, Millhouse Green.
AC Environmental Solutions Ltd Alison Chitoriski is a charted waste manager and chartered environmentalist with 20 years’ experience in environmental project works gained in both the public and private sectors. With a wealth of experience under her belt Alison decided to go it alone and set up AC Environmental Solutions in October last year, specialising in all aspects of waste management including planning, waste permitting, development and management of waste facilities, with work involving mobile plant, site condition reports and monitoring of regulatory compliance. Initially Alison was working from home but with an ever increasing workload, the limited space and the pressures of trying to find a reasonable work life balance something had to give. Through the Enterprising Barnsley website Alison was able to get in touch with the Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) in her search for cost effective office space in the Barnsley area.
For a small business the Enterprise Hubs provide everything we need
at Brook Corporate Development.“We only moved in a matter of weeks ago but we are already seeing the benefits of having permanent office accommodation. “Added benefits such as a reception area and professional meeting rooms are proving a great help and we fully intend to take advantage of free networking events in the near future.
“Since moving in we have been a lot more productive and efficient in the way that we work and our clients are enjoying having a permanent point of contact. “Furthermore, the Enterprise Hubs at Bull House Mill are easy for both staff and clients to travel to, located just minutes from the M1.”
For the full range of Enterprise Hubs now available throughout Barnsley visit www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk or contact Sue Beck on 01226 787535 for more details. The £4.7 million Enterprising Barnsley programme is funded by £2.89m from the European Regional Development Fund, £739,000 from Yorkshire Forward, and other funding sources.
AC Environmental Solution's Alison Chitoriski.
“After looking for affordable office premises I found the Enterprise Hub at Longfields Court on the Enterprising Barnsley website and decided to make an appointment to view,” says Alison.“I was really impressed with the office facilities as well as the professional approach of the management team. “I can now hold client meetings in the designated rooms attached to the hub, and find my work much more productive, which really motivates me. “Since moving in June I’ve also found my clients are eager to see my new office and the social interaction at the hub provides the support and reassurance which was always missing at home.”
Brook Corporate Development Ltd A successful career managing manufacturing companies throughout Yorkshire and Humberside led Mike Brook into business consultancy. After gaining 12 years’ experience in the fast-moving industry, Mike decided to set up his very own business consultancy company - Brook Corporate Development. During the past two years the business has gone from strength-to-strength, building up a team of 15 associates who travel to businesses across Yorkshire and Humberside and the North West delivering solutions to improve turn over. But despite this success, the business was still without a permanent office or direct point of contact. This is when Mike looked into Enterprise Hub accommodation through the BDA. Mike Brook of Brook Corporate Development Ltd.
“For a small business the Enterprise Hubs provide everything we need,” says Leanne Adams, business manager
For the full range of Enterprise Hubs now available throughout Barnsley visit www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk or contact 01226 787535 for more details
6 – THE BUSINESS Friday, August 13, 2010
Getting up to speed and paper free
Assessing the challenge: Alison Fletcher
Paper work and infrastructure still pose challenges for manufacturing companies, says Alison Fletcher of ABI Electronics in Dodworth. E all know about the competitive advantages claimed by lowwage economies such as Eastern Europe and the Far East. But it’s not just about labour costs – there are a lot of hidden costs in getting your product made overseas. Travel, communication, quality, customer service and delivery performance are areas where we can provide a good service to UK customers and which cost far more when dealing abroad. We are winning business back from overseas on many of these points, despite the recent deep recession. However, there are still some challenges to be faced, in particular the issue of legislation. We all agree that legislation is necessary to protect staff and the public, but in recent years the burden has become too great. The problem is that small companies cannot reasonably be expected to keep up with all the changes and new requirements. They can, and do, get things wrong sometimes. The problem is one of proportion – in a larger company, the cost of keeping up to date with changing rules and regulations is a tiny percentage of overall finances but in a company with 22 staff such as ours it can be a significant proportion of turnover and staff costs.
Chamber Digest A Guide to Forthcoming Chamber Events Ultimate Business Network Monday 6 September – Brinsworth Training, Rotherham (4pm start) This event is FREE to Chamber members and offers delegates a unique opportunity to meet Chamber Representative Council members. Includes a presentation from Qdos on HR and Health & Safety.
Chamber Raceday – St Leger Festival Friday 10 September – Doncaster Racecourse (10am start) Enjoy the day’s racing in the Winning Post Marquee with a wonderful meal, fine wines and champagne. Price: £170 per person, plus VAT
Women In Business Lunch Wednesday 15 September – Aston Hall Hotel, Sheffield (11.15am start) A fantastic opportunity for local business women from across South Yorkshire to meet and network. Price: £20 per person, plus VAT Business Network Online Update Wednesday 29 September – Holiday Inn, Barnsley (5pm)
Business Network Online (BNO) is an initiative developed by the British Chambers of Commerce and Accredited Chamber Network. It provides entrepreneurs with realistic opportunities to pitch for and win new contracts, covering both the private and public sectors. The site unites Accredited Chamber of Commerce members so you can find thousands of new contacts, new suppliers, new customers and new markets across the UK. Make sure you attend this FREE event to learn how to get the most from this service.
For further details, contact your local Chamber office at the address below Business Innovation Centre Wilthorpe Barnsley S75 1JL e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.brchamber.co.uk
Chamber phone number:
0844 414 5100
We still have to divert funds which could be used in job creation into non-profit making bureaucracy
At ABI we take legislation seriously and we’ve employed external specialists to help to keep us up to date. However, this service comes at a cost which ultimately reduces our profits, with a negative effect on investment and jobs. The coalition government has made encouraging noises about reducing the burden but at government level things take time to change and in the meantime we still have to divert funds which could be used in job creation into nonprofit making bureaucracy. We need to see changes soon to boost the economy both locally and nationally. Another challenge we in Barnsley need to face up to is broadband speed. We are based on a modern business park at Dodworth but when we moved here in 1998 there was
no provision on the site for broadband internet at all. Our only option at that time, at great expense, was a satellite system. Thankfully, things have improved but the internet speeds available to us are poor and cause delays in communication and limit our use of some of the modern methods of communication, especially considering 80 per cent of our customers are overseas. The much heralded broadband improvements scheduled for March this year have come to nothing for us as of yet. ABI is a Barnsley company, and has been for 28 years, and despite some ups and downs along the way, we’re still here, and here to stay. I hope the new government will take on board some of the concerns that we and other small businesses are voicing. The government has indicated its willingness to listen and we hope we have a voice through the Chamber of Commerce so we can move on to the next level. There are small signs that things are improving and we intend to take advantage of the improvements as our economy, and the of the rest of the world, slowly gets back to normal. At ABI, our staff are by far our biggest asset and always have been. With their help, we feel we can face up to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges, provide a good quality and efficient electronic design and manufacturing service and create and maintain jobs for Barnsley people.
Economic agenda to get set at local level BARNSLEY and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce is to work with councils in the two towns to develop Local Enterprise Partnerships. It hopes to come up with ways to boost productivity, create private sector jobs and ensure economic diversity. The LEPs mark a shift from Whitehall and regional agencies to local councils and
companies. The aim is to make economic partnership part of everyday life. The plan sets out a new programme to deliver reforms to put businesses and councils in control of the economic agenda. Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber has said it will also work with other chambers in the region.
Policy manager Andrew Denniff said: “There is a real opportunity for genuine partnership between the public and private sectors to focus on the needs of the local economy. “However, for the new programme to work, there has to be openness, transparency and genuine commitment on all sides to work together.”
Friday, August 13, 2010 THE BUSINESS – 7
Upbeat about upturn All is not gloom in the property market. It just takes a little imagination, reports Ian Thompson.
HIL Simpson says there is no point in being anything other than upbeat about the commercial property market. He has had a better than expected two years since he established his Penistone-based company, Stanhope Property Consultancy. Deals he has done include: ■ The sale of 13,500-sq ft of warehousing in Wombwell on behalf of Thornhill Heat Exchangers; ■ Letting of 5,000-sq ft of offices at Rockingham Business Park on behalf Hartwood Estates; ■ The sale of a surgery at Grimethorpe for Barnsley Primary Care Trust; ■ The letting of two restaurants on 25-year leases in the Dearne Valley. Phil said: “There are deals to be done on freehold property if landlords are imaginative and
flexible. There are deals to be done on leasehold property. “Barnsley has had its knocks in the past. The local economy and people in property have learned to adapt and I am quite confident that they will do so again.” There has been a tendency among some in business to sit on their hands. Phil said: “The coalition government is still in its infancy but at least the election result will give decision makers the chance to plan. “A change of government should bring a change in fortune for the property market.” Phil’s company deals with aspects of commercial property including shops, offices and warehousing. It also does valuation, acquisition and disposal of property on behalf of clients. It is involved in property management and issues involving landlords and tenants. At the moment, Phil works from home and employs personal
assistant Sharon Prew. There may be changes afoot. Phil said: “We are at that stage in the development of the company where I am seriously considering adding to the staff and probably moving into an office in Barnsley town centre. But, like any other business, you need to be careful with decisions. “Things have probably turned out better than I expected. I have got some loyal clients I have known for years. “A key to being successful is earning the trust of customers, providing good value and a service that gets results. You also have to deal with others in the way you would expect to be dealt with yourself.” He was a director of Barnsleybased Lancasters for 15 years and held a similar post for a separate firm called Lancaster Powell. He has also had spells with estate agent M P Jubb and with the South Yorkshire Housing Association. “You have got to
Looking forward: Phil Simpson.
learn to adapt to market conditions and know your clients. It is fair to say that times are challenging. “But the local economy is used to a challenge and we are well
prepared to meet it. “Barnsley has a good road network and, of course, good property values when compared with surrounding cities.”
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8 – THE BUSINESS Friday, August 13, 2010